Response to the Door challenge over at ds Flashfic. Great thanks to my ever-vigilant beta-reader SnowFlake.
With apologies to Raymond Carver.
It’s afterwards, and I’m kind of half-sprawled across him, too beat to move. A good kind of beat, totally drained and pretty fucking happy to just be here with him. Feeling really happy and lazy and totally, completely girly-in-love with this guy. Damn. You know that warm feeling that centers itself in your chest and makes your heart feel like it’s about to burst? Yeah, like that, and I know it should be freaking me out, but I’m too damn happy to care.
I’m mostly just happy to lie beside him, and rest my head on his chest and listen to his heart beat, and when the hell did I turn into a Harlequin Romance character? I mean, listen to me: this is pretty fucking crazy. But then, he’s pretty fucking crazy, so I guess that fits. This fits. We fit.
I’m not making a whole lot of sense, even to myself. I think I blew more than a couple of brain cells there when I came.
He’s watching me watching him, and he has that relaxed, sleepy look on his face that I love so damn much, ‘cause I don’t get to see it often. It takes a lot to get him to relax, to get him to just let me take care of him. When we fuck, it’s fierce, and we both like it that way, mostly. But sometimes...aw, hell, not to pursue this whole girly way of thinking, but sometimes it’s really a whole lot beyond fucking. Sometimes it’s making love, it’s like entirely, completely about love, and that just blows my mind.
That’s not to say that the fierce times, the crazy-mind-blowing-sex times, aren’t about love too. Hell, me and him, we are all about love. We just don’t necessarily show it all the time. I mean, we’ve been friends for a hell of a lot longer than we’ve been lovers, and I swear to you, we were flirting with this whole idea in our heads from the very start. At least, I was. I know he was too, I just know it, only the bastard won’t admit it, just gets that closed-mouthed, annoying smile look, like a-gentleman-never-tells kind of look.
You’d think he could tell me though, since I’m the one he was having dirty thoughts about. But whenever I ask, he just shakes his head, though his eyes get kind of shiny and amused-looking, and soon after that he usually kisses me, like he’s giving me some of those kisses he’s been saving up since we first met.
So I don’t usually end up complaining too much.
But yeah. It took a damn long time for us to end up here, sweaty and sticky and staring at each other in the darkness like we know what this all means. His hand is stroking through my hair in this real mesmerizing kind of way, and his eyes are real, real dark, like I could get lost in them. I could lie here listening to his heart beat all damn night. And I think that maybe why it’s so damn good between us is because we were both waiting for this for so long.
You take a couple of years of wanting to be with someone more than you want to be with anyone else, and the hard part is, you get to be with him, practically all the damn time, because you’re liaisoning with him, and for a while that’s kind of enough, because at least then you get to be close to him. You get to touch him every once in a while, and you get to hang out with him, and you get someone to talk to. And for some crazy reason you find yourself telling him things you never talk about with anybody, and even crazier is that you’re telling him this stuff before you’ve even really gotten to know him or anything. Maybe because you’re pretending to be this other guy, so you’re supposed to be all close and personal with him from the start. But it kind of feels like it’s not pretend, like you’ve known him forever, almost from the very first time you saw him. And let me tell you, my friend, that is a fucked-up feeling and one that doesn’t happen very often. Or like, you know, ever.
And you get dragged into all this crazy-ass shit with him (though if you want to be real honest with yourself, you drag him into a fair amount of shit too), and it gets so you work together really fucking good, like so good that you don’t even have to really talk or even see each other. You just, what’s the damn word, anticipate and he’s always there when you expect him to be, and you’re the same for him. And then it’s like you don’t want to work with anyone else, hell, you don’t want to be with anyone else. Then one day you realize it doesn’t hurt to see your ex-wife anymore and you realize that fuck, fuck, maybe it’s ‘cause that part of your heart you thought would always belong to her kind of belongs to him now, to your fucking partner, your fucking Mountie partner, and then you realize that you might be very, very screwed.
But you take a deep breath and bang your head against the wall a few times, and then you sit down and figure out that you got a couple of options here. You can keep going on as you have been, and be happy with what you have, this friendship that is really more than you ever expected or deserved, probably. And you should probably count your fucking blessings that you get to have even that.
But when it comes right down to it, you honestly don’t think you’re going to be able to keep your damn mouth shut about this, because sometimes it’s like you want him so much that it kind of hurts to look at him. And that doesn’t make for a real stable situation. So something’s gonna happen, and it’s probably better if it’s a something that happens because you decide it’s gonna, and not ‘cause you run out of self-control and end up slamming the Mountie up against the wall and kissing the breath out of him.
So what you do is this: you come back to the consulate with him one night, a little like a lost puppy, mostly because you can’t think clear enough to come up with a reason for him to come home with you. Not that there’s any real reason for you to be here. But he’s too polite to point it out, and so you end up alone with him in the damn Canadian consulate in the middle of the fucking night. And you’re in his office, kind of pacing around the tiny amount of space there is to pace in there, and he’s looking at you all baffled and like, offering you tea or something. He’s gotta think you’re crazy, ‘cause you haven’t been able to come up with word one to start this off with. Because how do you tell your partner that you’re crazy in love with him and can’t even look at him too long because his lips look so pretty?
And you’re thinking fuck, fuck, and wondering why you ever thought this was a good idea and that maybe you should just leave, should just leave, leave well enough alone. But then he touches your arm and makes you look at him, and his eyes are all dark and worried, and he just says your name, just “Ray,” in this kind of real tender tone of voice.
And what you end up doing is slamming the Mountie up against the wall and kissing the breath out of him.
Which ends up okay, because after a couple of really scary seconds where he doesn’t do anything at all, he starts kissing you back, which you realize you never really thought would happen. You also didn’t really think that his hands would be all over you, in your hair, on your ass, yanking you close so he can push his leg between yours. And then the thinking part of the night is over with, ‘cause he tugs you over to his really narrow bunk, where there shouldn't be enough space to do much of anything, but the two of you somehow make it work, ‘cause you end up a sweaty, tangled mess together there.
And it’s dark, kind of like it is now, and he’s watching you, and you can’t take your eyes off of him, and you realize that you’re serious about him, you’re really fucking serious about him. And the sex was tremendous, but that’s ‘cause it wasn’t just about sex, it was about him, it was about you and him, and he’s pretty tremendous himself.
Yeah. Like that.
So anyway. Back to tonight. Fraser’s looking at me in the dark, and I slide off of him a little so I can prop my head up on my hand. I’m still right up against him, though, ‘cause he’s warm and I like him so close to me. I’m feeling goofy tonight, feeling silly-in-love with him. I run my hand over his chest, lazy now, not the desperate touches of earlier tonight. Both ways are good. I want him any way I can get him. He smiles at me, sleepy.
I’m relaxed, but not real sleepy. Which is good. ‘cause it give me an edge on him I don’t usually get. “Hey,” I say.
“Hey, yourself,” he says, his voice still low and ragged, maybe from yelling so hard when I made him come earlier.
I smile at him slow. Love him like this. “You doing okay?”
His hand moves down from my hair to my back and his fingers trace a slow line across my shoulders, then further down. “Yes,” he says. “I am very okay.”
His fingers on my back give me goose bumps and I shiver lightly. He runs his hand, warm and soothing now, down my back again.
“Good,” I say, my hand still resting on his chest. There’s a scar there up high, a kind of half-circle. I trace it lightly with my fingers and this time it’s him that gets a shiver. I tilt my head up to look at him. “This is the one from the...otter?”
“Otter,” he confirms, too sleepy and content to get all stiff-lipped, I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it the way he usually does. I can’t remember how I got him to tell me about it the first time. If he was anyone else, I’d say he was drunk, but since it’s Fraser we’re talking about, maybe he’d just overindulged on tea the night he told me the story about the otter-swinging guy.
My hand wanders lower, ghosts over his nipple (earning me another shiver that rolls over his whole body) and his arm tightens around my shoulder, pulling me closer. I let my hand stroke down his chest, over his stomach, then down his side. There’s a bruise there, a big one, healing now, from where he got kicked last week restraining a suspect. I nearly tore that guy to pieces, wanted to beat the crap out of him, and Huey had to pull me off before I made good my threat of kicking him, repeatedly, in the head. I press my hand against the bruise lightly, knowing it doesn’t hurt anymore, just wanting confirmation that Fraser's all in one piece. His other hand comes up and presses on top of mine. Soothing. Saying, It’s okay, I know, I’m all right.
I sigh a little and move my hand out from under his, let it move down to his thigh. There are scars there, older ones, and I let my fingers wander over those as well. “This one?” I ask.
“Knife,” he says softly.
“And here?” My fingers are gentle on the other one, which is just slightly lower down from the knife wound.
I know the stories behind these ones. These parts of his history that I wasn’t here for. How he got hurt and got better, again and again, long before I showed up. I’ve got scars myself, and he knows my stories, too. I think that maybe this is what love is. Real love, true love. How everything, every little goddamn thing, binds you closer together, and somehow even that isn’t close enough.
I shiver again. The sweat has dried on my skin and the room is getting chilly. I shift myself, move so I’m on top of him again, and he spreads his legs, arranges us so that I can rest against him. He smiles at me again in the dark and tilts his head forward, kisses me, soft and real, real sweet. I keep my eyes shut for a second after he pulls away, savoring that kiss. I open my eyes slowly, getting a little sleepier now. He loops his arms around me, rests them against the small of my back.
There’s a scar, high on his temple, and it looks a little silver in the moonlight. I stretch forward, lick it lightly. Look at him. “What’s this one from?”
His eyes get real serious and dark. He looks away over my shoulder for a second before answering. “A door,” he says real quiet.
“You ran into a door?” I ask.
“I ran through a door,” he says. “A plate glass door.” He’s quiet for a second. His eyes are still very far away. This is a story he hasn’t told me yet. I rest my chin on my hands on his chest and wait for him to think it through. He doesn’t have to tell me. I know when not to push. But I think he wants to.
“We were...” He takes a breath, his chest moving underneath me. “Ray and I. Ray Vecchio. We were helping a shoemaker.”
A shoemaker? I bite down hard on my lip to keep from asking, were there elves? Yeah, I can keep my mouth shut. Sometimes.
“We were trying to help him get away from the mob.” Fraser loosens his hands from around my waist, brings one hand up so he can rub at his eyebrow with his thumb. “From a particular mobster, actually, a man named...”
“Frank Zuko,” I murmur. I’m watching his eyes, and they slowly travel back to me for a moment. Yeah. I know something about the history with Frank Zuko.
“Yes,” Fraser says after a moment. “The plan was to get Joey - the shoemaker - out of town. But Zuko...” He trails off, is lost in himself.
“Zuko found out,” I finish for him.
“Yes,” he says again, but he’s not really hearing me; he’s lost in the past. “Zuko found out, and his men were there, at the bus station. We didn't figure it out until it was almost too late. One of them shot at Joey, but missed. He ran. Ray stayed outside, trying to help Joey. I ran after the shooter.”
"You didn't have a gun." My voice sounds hard. I don't think he notices.
"Well, no, I'm not licensed to carry one, as you know," he says absently.
"But you chased the shooter. Unarmed."
"Ray had to protect Joey." He still has that absent tone, like he's not here under me at all, like he's maybe back at that bus station. "I ran after the man. I was…right behind him. Very close. He slammed the door in front of me, and I…" He shrugs just a little. "…ran through it." He says it like it's the most natural thing in the world. Then he runs his fingers over his forehead, finding the scar instinctively.
I’m barely breathing here, because he needs to tell this, and I’m afraid if I move he’ll pull back, shut down, and not get out what he needs to get out.
He takes another breath and lifts his chin a little bit. “I resumed pursuit, until I came to the end of the hall and Zuko's men were there. On all sides of me. Waiting.” His tongue pokes out, runs over his bottom lip, the way it does when he’s thinking about something very hard. “They held me. My arms behind my back.” He stops talking, his eyes looking off into the darkness.
“They beat you up.” I manage to keep my voice level, because he needs me to listen more than he needs me to give in to this anger. My heart is beating hard though, and my hands are clenched into fists. Where was Vecchio when this was going on, where the fuck was Vecchio when those guys were hurting Fraser? I think that he should be able to feel my heart beating so hard against his chest. He’s still lost in this story, though, and I tell myself to relax, to be here for him, to listen to him, to give him what he needs. To push my anger aside and tell myself that later, later is when I go find these guys and hurt them.
“Yes,” he says, his eyes slowly refocusing on me. “Yes. They did. Left me there for Ray to find.”
My heart clenches, not wanting to imagine what it must have been like to find Fraser, left there, crumpled on the floor.
“It was...all right,” he says slowly. “I recovered, and I was...fine.” He takes a breath. “No permanent injuries.”
“Just this,” I say, reaching up to trace the scar on his forehead with softly with my finger.
“Just that,” he confirms. He’s watching me now, and maybe he does feel my heart beating, because he wraps his arms around me firmly once more, leans forward to brush his lips against mine. “I was fine.”
“What did Vecchio do?” I ask. I know who Zuko is. I know his connection to Vecchio. If that assshole let Zuko get away with this...
Another beat of silence, then, “He got Zuko alone, somehow, and he threatened him, and then he...beat him up. He beat him badly, and Zuko agreed not to pursue the matter any further.” He breathes for a moment. “He never came after Ray, though that wasn’t a part of the deal.”
Jesus. I wouldn’t have thought Vecchio had it in him. To go out and find Zuko and beat him up like that. Vecchio ain't never gonna be my best friend, but he's a good cop, he's a damn good cop. It takes balls to step outside the law like that. To somehow scare Zuko, a pretty powerful mob boss, enough that he never looked for payback. That sends a shiver through my body. Guess there’s a reason Vecchio lasted as long as he did in Vegas.
Fraser's quiet now, and his eyes are focused on me again. I wonder what he's thinking about. I wonder how we got here, just from talking about scars. I think about the scars we’re not talking about. The ones on Fraser’s back. The ones from where Vecchio shot him. And I think that there’s a lot that Vecchio did that I wouldn’t think he’d do. And maybe there was a reason that happened, and maybe I’m really fucking glad that Fraser is here and not with Victoria, but he could have, maybe wanted to have, ended up dead on that train platform with Vecchio’s bullet in his back. And that scares the hell out of me and makes me real happy that it’s me who’s got Fraser’s back now.
I come back to myself, and I figure my eyes were as far away as Fraser’s were earlier.
“Ray,” he murmurs, shifting under me, pulling me up a little so he can reach my lips, so he can kiss me hard, a whole lot harder and more serious than before. “Ray,” and now he’s asking for something, something I know I can give.
This is us, now, this is part of the duet. I press against him, and kiss him again. I move against him and shift us until I’m straddling him. He’s hard already, and I’m getting there real quick. The sleepy look is gone from his eyes. He pulls me down to kiss me some more, fierce and needy and I love it. I move against him, and again. I think that maybe we were talking about more than his scars there. I think something happened there and I'm not sure I have the words to explain it and that maybe scares me a little, too.
My heart is pounding like crazy and it's not just because of how good it feels to press hard against him, to stroke against him like this. It's maybe because every step now is a big one. That maybe what we talk about when we talk about scars is love. Is how much this means, how fucking far this goes. How we are both of us very, extremely fucked up, but that maybe us being together here somehow makes us less fucked up. Yeah, two queer cops, but it works somehow, it's kind of okay, because we get it, we get it, we see where we're coming from, and how it somehow makes us who we are right now. So long as I love him and he loves me, then we kind of like who we are, and we can't really regret own personal histories if they got us to this place, now, can we?
Something like that. Something real deep and philosophical, but I'm losing track here. Because Fraser's hands are holding on tight to my hips, pulling me hard against him, again and again. And his cock is leaking against me a whole lot, and there's this hot slickness between us. And he's kissing me again, real hard here, just kind of pressing his tongue into me and his eyes are shut tight and he's moaning into my mouth. Like he's losing it, losing himself in me, like I'm good enough to be worth getting lost in.
And I just want…I just want to hold onto this, this minute between us, just hold onto it and make it last. I should be able to, should be no problem at all, because I just came my fucking brains out not a real long time ago, and so did he. But he's shaking against me, like he did the first time we did this on his narrow bunk in the consulate, shaking hard. And now he's torn his mouth from mine and pressed his head against my shoulder, and I want to move, to try to get inside him, want to be inside him. But that would take too fucking long, because now, now, is when he's shaking hard against me. And now is when he's gasping words into my shoulder, in that broken voice he uses when he is this fucking close to coming, words like, Ray and please and needyou and needthis.
And it's me that loses it, I fucking lose it, just drive myself against him, shoving so hard, hanging onto his shoulders, the bed, anyplace I can find a hold, and the only thing I can say is, "Yes, yes, yes."
And I come, come hard, Jesus, so hard, growling and biting against his shoulder. And his voice is in my ear, saying, "God, Ray, God, yes, yes!" And he's shaking beneath me like he's breaking to pieces and some distant, bewildered part of my brain is thinking, this is so good, too good, you're gonna get hurt. But at the same time, his hands are clenched on my hips and I sink down against him, and "Not too much. Never too much," is what I'm muttering against his neck. His hands are moving over my back, patting, touching, holding me together and it occurs to me that maybe it was me who was doing most of the shaking just then.
I don’t want to let go of him. It’s one of those moments when I know I’ve got a good thing here and maybe if I let go of it, I’ll lose it. Like there’s some way I can just hold on tight enough and it’ll all always be okay. Even though I know better than some people that there’s no way that works. You can’t hold on too tight, or it just slips through your fingers.
He’s moving, easing me over to lie next to him. I look at him lying there in the darkness and I get a shiver again. I move my hand up his arm, and shift closer. He’s watching me, but his eyes are so dark that I can’t read them. I run my hand over his back until I feel the rough scars there. I press my hand against them, like I can fix them, maybe, or maybe just understand a little bit more.
He looks at me. “Ray,” he says real soft. “I’m fine.”
“Yeah,” I say. “I know.”
He leans forward and kisses me and we are both worn out now but we stay awake for a little while, talking quietly in the dark.
back to brooklinegirl's due South page